Reviews & features: Brian Donaldson

616 reviews

Sorted by popularity / date / title / rating

Lady Garden

8 Aug 20113 stars

Successful series of standalone and recurring sketches

Opening with a lovely scene which links hen nights to war movies, the LG quintet offers up a series of standalone and recurring sketches (best of those being the woman whose life keeps falling apart, the least successful being the tattoo parlour scene).

Ro Campbell: Uttering Bad Shillings

8 Aug 20112 stars

Some nice stuff from Scottish Comedian of the Year, but few genuine laughs

In this marginally bitter show, the current Scottish Comedian of the Year and full-on Aussie tells the story of his intriguing background as a retort to those who loudly jeered his victory. There’s some nice stuff about the ‘true’ roots of Kevin Bridges…

Tim Clare: How to Be a Leader

8 Aug 20114 stars

Frequently inventive show includes rousing series of raps about iconic women

A frequently inventive follow-up to last year’s excellent debut from Clare, How to be a Leader is a handy guide to anyone who wants to rule over people and land. After drawing links between suicide cultist Jim Jones and chocoholic Willy Wonka, he closes…

Fear of a Brown Planet

8 Aug 20113 stars

Audience-friendly jovial banter about Islam, Michael Jackson and Barack Obama

Aamer Rahman and Nazeem Hussain both studied law back home in Australia but from what they say on stage, their parents are probably not best pleased with their ultimate career choice. They needn’t worry though, as this pair are surely going places with…

Wedding Band: A Comedy by Charlie Baker

7 Aug 20113 stars

Crooner delivers a gentle comic play

What’s the worst thing that could happen to you as the head of a jobbing wedding band? High on the list would be mislaying the PA, having a keyboardist who can’t stop muttering about being fed and, arguably most awkward of all, discovering that you…

back to top

Interview - Heath McIvor and Randy

29 Jul 2011

The purple-faced puppet is clean, sober and ready to entertain

What were the circumstances behind your first alcoholic drink? After 32 hours in labour I was exhausted and absolutely furious about being wrenched from my sac of amniotic fluid. Only a scotch would do. Name a famous puppet that could drink you…

Fringe 2011: Comedy sketches with an edge

29 Jul 2011

Late Night Gimp Fight, Christmas for Two, McNeil and Pamphilon and The Three Englishmen

With the near-veteran likes of the Penny Dreadfuls and Pappy’s opting not to appear in their collective forms this Fringe, it’s a golden opportunity for some of the newer sketch acts to make a mark. But with ever-increasing competition at their level…

Surrealism and stupidity of Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown kids show

29 Jul 2011

Absurdist comic Phil Burgers a refreshing antidote to corporate Fringe

Anyone who saw last year’s late-night Fringe anarchy from Dr Brown may raise an eyebrow to learn that he’s now doing a kids’ show, as well as another full-on physically comedic adult hour. To the man behind the mask, absurdist American comic Phil…

Fringe 2011 comedy: 5 musical comedians

29 Jul 2011

Isy Suttie, Steve Pretty, ATF?, Pistol & Jack and Gareth Richards

Isy Suttie. Dobby (from Peep Show not Harry Potter, silly) brings us Pearl and Dave, another heartwarming multi-character tale. With his Perfect Mixtape, Pretty recalls the tunes played at his own wake in 2005 (there’s a story there) and wonders what…

Fringe 2011 comedy: five free shows

29 Jul 2011

Featuring Hatty Ashdown, Jody Kamali, Paul Foot, Norman Lovett and Gadd, Kirk and Winning

Hatty Ashdown ‘Hatty Ashdown’s brain is made up of funny molecules,’ claims Friday Night Dinner creator Robert Popper with what is presumably deemed as a compliment.

back to top

I am a Dick - Josh Howie interview

26 Jul 2011

The comedian tells us, in his own words, why he's a dick

I am a dick. This was something I had to finally embrace. When I talked to comic friends of mine, where I’m just being me and letting my guard down, I got sick of them saying, ‘stop with the jokey-jokes, the thing that is funny about you is that you’re…

Dare to Dream - Nick Helm interview

26 Jul 2011

The on-stage angry man is actually quite pleasant

It may surprise anyone who witnessed Nick Helm’s breakthrough Fringe last year that he is actually something of a festival veteran. Back in 1997, he made his Edinburgh debut with the first of three annual school plays while in 2001 he came up with a…

Andrew Maxwell - The Lights Are On

26 Jul 2011

The King of Comedy returns to his ancestral pile

To Andrew Maxwell, there are few sounds better than a roomful of people laughing. All the better if they’re laughing at something the tiny Dubliner with the massive talent has just said. ‘Laughter speeds shit up,’ insists the man crowned King of Comedy…

Money, Money, Money - Keith Farnan interview

26 Jul 2011

The conscience-fuelled Irish comic talks money

While there are few people who are able to laugh at themselves quite like the Irish, recent times have been somewhat trying for Celtic self-mockery. The aftershock of the global financial crisis is still hurting the Emerald Isle and Keith Farnan sees…

Fringe for (around) a fiver: Comedy

22 Jul 2011

The best cheap shows in Edinburgh this August

AAA Stand-Up/Late A trio of dandy comics for much less than the normal price of three in this annual not-late/late line-up. The earlier bill includes Joe Rowntree while the later roster has Matt Price. Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 3–5 Aug…

back to top

Interview: Joe Dunthorne - author of Submarine and Wild Abandon

21 Jul 2011

Edinburgh shows with Unbound, Aisle16, Luke Wright and Tim Clare

The day before our phone interview, Joe Dunthorne was on Radio 4, bantering with Tim Key about the perfect opening line. Chatting to him the next day, it appears the Welsh-born poet, short story writer and novelist has worked out a potential strategy.

Interview: Chris McCausland

21 Jul 2011

The comedian discusses his blindness ahead of gigs at Highlight, Glasgow and the Fringe

As Rudi, the ever jovial market-stall owner, Chris McCausland cut a fine dash across CBeebies screens in Me Too! With Big Time, his upcoming Fringe show at the Pleasance Courtyard, he’s back reflecting upon childish things by wondering how time seems to…

Comedy picks for the Edinburgh Fringe 2011

20 Jul 2011

David O’Doherty Two shows this year from the beloved man of lo-fi musical comedy with the high-laugh quotient. His usual brilliant sit-down/stand-up fare, David O’Doherty is Looking Up, is augmented by his debut on the one-man comic play scene. Rory…

World Press Photo 2011 in Edinburgh - Jodi Bieber interview

8 Jul 2011

Photo of mutilated young Afghan woman a symbol of tormented times

Bibi Aisha was 18 when the Taliban came calling for her just before midnight. Forced into a mountain clearing in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, she was put on trial and convicted by a local commander. Her crime: fleeing from a violent husband…

Advertising, Mad Men and the future - John Hegarty interview

8 Jul 2011

Advertising guru set for Edinburgh Book Festival 2011

"In the end, virtually everything I work on is, to a certain extent, irrelevant." After the best part of an hour's chat in which John Hegarty has pretty much sold me on the unparalleled joys and benefits of advertising, it's a refreshing shock to the…

back to top

Edinburgh Festival of Politics 2011 - Highlights

8 Jul 2011

Richard Holloway, Sarah Boyack and David Greig among highlights

The Festival of Politics may be one of the junior members of the August fraternity, but it just keeps coming of age. An array of events, speakers and themes are on the agenda this year with technology and the upheavals across north Africa and the Middle…

Debut novelists at 2011 Edinburgh International Book Festival

8 Jul 2011

Rebecca Hunt, Adam Levin and Mary Horlock among visiting authors

Charlotte Square Gardens will be teeming with quality first novels for the whole of August, one of which will receive the EIBF's Newton First Book Award. Brian Donaldson looks at the cream of this year's debutants

Highlights of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011

8 Jul 2011

Alasdair Gray's Fleck, Kristin Hersh and Heather Brooke among picks

An event with the writer of landmark works such as Lanark and Poor Things is exciting enough, but the Book Festival has cranked up the fever to 11 with another excellent first. In 2007 Gray wrote Fleck, an adaptation of Goethe's Faust and the closing…

Interview - Dave Gorman's Power Point Presentation

6 Jul 2011

Comic who set the bar for concept shows makes welcome Fringe return

When Dave Gorman was pottering away on his latest project – finding and playing obscure and unique games – he came to the conclusion that maybe there wasn’t a book, documentary series or stand-up tour in it. Meeting people and playing their games in…

Katherine Ryan: Little Miss Conception

6 Jul 2011

Canadian comedian's hits Edinburgh with show about crucial early years

As a little girl growing up in the Canadian smalltown of Sarnia (not a made-up place), Katherine Ryan’s parents put her forward into those pageants that only north Americans are capable of laying on. Yet even at an early age, Ryan showed a healthy…